Author(s): Iancu EM, Gannon PO, Laurent J, Gupta B, Romero P,
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Abstract Persistent viruses are kept in check by specific lymphocytes. The clonal T cell receptor (TCR) repertoire against Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), once established following primary infection, exhibits a robust stability over time. However, the determinants contributing to this long-term persistence are still poorly characterized. Taking advantage of an in vivo clinical setting where lymphocyte homeostasis was transiently perturbed, we studied EBV antigen-specific CD8 T cells before and after non-myeloablative lympho-depleting chemotherapy of melanoma patients. Despite more advanced T cell differentiation, patients T cells showed clonal composition comparable to healthy individuals, sharing a preference for TRBV20 and TRBV29 gene segment usage and several co-dominant public TCR clonotypes. Moreover, our data revealed the presence of relatively few dominant EBV antigen-specific T cell clonotypes, which mostly persisted following transient lympho-depletion (TLD) and lymphocyte recovery, likely related to absence of EBV reactivation and de novo T cell priming in these patients. Interestingly, persisting clonotypes frequently co-expressed memory/homing-associated genes (CD27, IL7R, EOMES, CD62L/SELL and CCR5) supporting the notion that they are particularly important for long-lasting CD8 T cell responses. Nevertheless, the clonal composition of EBV-specific CD8 T cells was preserved over time with the presence of the same dominant clonotypes after non-myeloablative chemotherapy. The observed clonotype persistence demonstrates high robustness of CD8 T cell homeostasis and reconstitution.
This article was published in PLoS One
and referenced in Journal of Molecular and Genetic Medicine